Triple Digits [112]

Debut solo album from one third of Injury Reserve, half of the duo By Storm

How do you effectively draw a line under a significant time period or era? When you’re known, as an artist, by the music you make as a collective, is it possible to leave that behind? Before Injury Reserve became By Storm following the sudden passing of Stepa J. Groggs, bandmates RiTchie and Parker Corey took the time to breathe. In releasing and touring the trio’s last album By The Time I Get To Phoenix, RiTchie and Corey were able to pay homage to their friend, as well as to their journey and history as a group. The unveiling of the By Storm moniker and their first material as a duo after retiring the Injury Reserve name was a way to draw a line, but it was never really about leaving anything behind. Instead, that first release, ‘Double Trio’, can be viewed as its own entity and at the same time, the rising arc of something fresh.

In a similar vein, Triple Digits [112], RiTchie’s debut solo album, is a singular and distinct record but its underlying emphasis on the exhale and on the idea of relinquishing pressure feels like part of a wider process. “What started as a personal outlet to release these mental barriers,” RiTchie said of the album, “ended up with me having some fun music I felt comfortable, then confident, and now excited to put out there in the world while me and Parker continue to work on the first By Storm record.”

From the hazy, trippy ‘Wings [Intro]’ to the slacker rock-esque ‘WYTD?!?!’, Triple Digits [112] doesn’t just run with one simple idea but embraces a sense of creative freedom in its style and foundations. The album’s first single ‘RiTchie Valens’ transports you to another cosmic plane with its repetitive, stuttering auto-tuned vocals and irreverent lyrics, while ‘Dizzy’ (which features Aminé) is suitably woozy in its instrumental backdrop and laidback, tongue-in-cheek storytelling. ‘Looping’ has a similar stream-of-consciousness to it but it leans more heavily on RiTchie’s fine poetic phrasing. And then there’s genuine soulfulness too – in the charming and flippant refrain of ‘The Thing’ featuring Quelle Chris or in the subdued lullaby and sleepy syncopations of ‘5onthe’, produced by Parker Corey.

At just over thirty mins, Triple Digits [112] offers a mere slice of the playfulness that RiTchie possesses in his lyricism and delivery. But with numerous guest features and producers (which he earnestly makes the effort to list and thank on the final track), it feels like an album with an eclecticism that was ultimately needed, from an artist we may have previously thought we had figured out.

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today